Origins of the Cold War Essay

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Origins of the Cold War


The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of the Cold War. To accomplish this exploration, the works of W.A. Williams, Robert Jervis, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. serves as the foundation. Before a closer examination of these works, a short explanation of the three common viewpoints regarding the study of the Cold War is warranted. These viewpoints are Attribution, Structural, and Misperception. With these viewpoints to guide the way, the above authors look at the origins of the Cold War. I will make my own points about the origins later.
Following World War II, the United States and the Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) changed roles from Allies to enemies. The
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The Structuralist view contends that the international system created the Cold War Following the war, all the former great powers were destitute; the two strong powers emerged to fill the vacuum. The European Balance of Power system was replaced by a stable (many would argue that it wasn't all that stable, just relatively predictable..just food for thought out of my notes, maybe 'relatively stable' is a better word) bipolar system that put the US in direct opposition to the USSR following WWII.
The Misperception view believes in just that, misperception between the two belligerents. The perception of each nation viewing the other was actually a misperception. The effect of "mirroring" caused many misperceptions between the two nations. Mirroring is seeing the other as we see ourselves in the mirror, implanting our logic, beliefs, values, and perceptions on the other instead of looking at the other as they see themselves.
William Appleman Williams is considered to be an attributionist (missed a couple letters, I respelled it fur ya). Williams considered the US the aggressor in the COLD WAR. The policy of the "Open Door" created the environment that "closed the door to any result but the cold war" (Williams 1972, 229). This environment was perpetuated by Roosevelt's successors who "rapidly embarked upon a program to force the Soviet Union to accept America's traditional…